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Publication: Health Tips Weekly
Female sex drive problems still a mystery

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       HEALTH TIPS WEEKLY - Thursday, November 8, 2007   
"News That Keeps You Healthy"
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Environmental stress can cause cancer

AUGUSTA, Ga.,--U.S. scientists have discovered environmental
stresses can result in cancer development by reducing the
activity level of an enzyme that causes cell death. Resear-
chers led by Yonghua Yang, a postdoctoral fellow at the Med-
ical College of Georgia Cancer Center, found stress-inducing
agents, such as oxidative stress, recruit a protein called
SENP1 that cuts a regulator called SUMO1 from the enzyme
SIRT1 so its activity level drops. Yang said that finding
opens the door for treatments that increase SENP1 activity,
making it easier for cells that are becoming cancerous to
die. "This is one of the things that make cancer cells so
durable, one way they survive so well," said Yang. "We want
to see if we can block that process and make cells die." He
noted increased SIRT1 activity -- routinely present in can-
cer -- even makes cancer cells more resistant to anti-cancer
drugs such as chemotherapy.

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Lack of lubricant linked with joint wear

PROVIDENCE, R.I., -- A U.S. study has, for the first time,
linked increased friction with early wear in the joints of
animals. Brown University researchers led by physician-
engineer Dr. Gregory Jay have demonstrated mice that do not
produce the protein lubricin begin to show wear in their
joints fewer than two weeks after birth. Jay, an associate
professor of emergency medicine and engineering, said the
finding not only demonstrates the protective power of lub-
ricin and how joints work, but also suggests lubricin or a
similar substance could be injected directly into joints in-
flamed by arthritis or injury, providing a preventive treat-
ment that might reduce the need for painful and costly joint
replacement surgery.

OTC drugs may cut Parkinson's disease risk

LOS ANGELES, -- A U.S. study suggests over-the-counter med-
icines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or
NSAIDs, may reduce a person's risk of Parkinson's disease.
The study involved 579 men and women, half of whom had Park-
inson's. The participants were asked if they had taken asp-
irin and if they had taken non-aspirin NSAIDs, such as ibu-
profen, once a week or more at any point in their life for
at least a month. The study found regular users of non-
aspirin NSAIDs reduced their risk of Parkinson's disease by
as much as 60 percent compared with non-regular users and
non-users. Women who were regular users of aspirin reduced
their risk of Parkinson's disease by 40 percent. "Our find-
ings suggest NSAIDs are protective against Parkinson's dis-
ease, with a particularly strong protective effect among re-
gular users of non-aspirin NSAIDs, especially those who re-
ported two or more years of use," said study author Angelika
Wahner of the UCLA School of Public Health. "Interestingly,
aspirin only benefited women. It may be that men are taking
lower doses of aspirin for heart problems, while women may
be using higher doses for arthritis or headaches."

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Nitric oxide helps high-altitude survival

CLEVELAND, -- U.S. researchers have discovered high blood
levels of nitric oxide allow people to live at high altit-
udes where air has low levels of oxygen. Dr. Serpil Erzurum,
chairman of the Cleveland Clinic's Department of Pathobio-
logy, and colleagues from Case Western Reserve University
analyzed blood samples and blood flow readings from 88 Tib-
etans living at altitudes of 14,000 feet. They compared the
measurements with those of 50 people who live at locations
near sea level. The Tibetans were found to have 10 times
more nitric oxide and more than double the forearm blood
flow of sea-level dwellers. The researchers said they bel-
ieve the high levels of nitric oxide cause an increased
blood flow that provides body tissues with sufficient am-
ounts of oxygen despite low levels of oxygen in both the
air and the bloodstream.

Nicotine vaccine helps smokers quit

OMAHA, -- U.S. researchers say a clinical trial shows a nic-
otine vaccine can help people quit smoking and produces
antibodies against nicotine. NicVax, made by Nabi Biopharma-
ceuticals, was tested on 301 study participants in nine cen-
ters across the country, the University of Nebraska Medical
Center said Wednesday in a news release. Dr. Stephen Rennard
who presented the study results at the 80th American Heart
Association Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla., said there
was a significant relationship between anti-nicotine anti-
body levels and continuous abstinence from smoking. He said
NicVAX was well-tolerated and showed no differences in adv-
erse events or in local/systemic reactions between placebo
and each active vaccine group. Researchers said the vaccine
works by preventing nicotine from entering the brain, which
may reduce the pleasurable effects of smoking.

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Female sex drive problems still a mystery

CLEVELAND,-- U.S. medical experts have been unable to find
an approved and successful medication that will help a woman
overcome a marked drop in sexual drive. While testosterone
products have been embraced overseas, related products have
failed to gain approval in the United States because of arg-
uments against their effectiveness and safety, the Cleveland
Plain Dealer said Wednesday. With such proposed medical
treatments failing to gain approval from the Food and Drug
Administration, women suffering from sexual dysfunction have
been left with few options. Psychiatrist Dr. Susan Rako, who
wrote the book "The Hormone of Desire," has become a champ-
ion for testosterone-based products for female sexual dys-
function. She says that stereotypes about testosterone's
effects on women, along with the FDA's stance on the hor-
mone's use for such treatments, are the key roadblocks. "Pe-
ople used to think that if you gave testosterone to women,
you turned them into men," she told the newspaper. "The pro-
blem has been that the FDA has not identified testosterone
deficiency as a state that needs to be treated," she added.

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